Thursday, April 13, 2006

Welcome to Peaks Island

I love this picture. There are many stories contained in it. It's the old Peaks Island dock in the milder days of 1976. Sure looks different than the docking complex we have today.

Of course, the Big Mac takes up far more space than the old Rebel, the world's littlest aircraft carrier, so restorations were sorely needed. But, just looking at the taxi, the falling down docking railings and the old Bread Truck bring back many fond memories.

Jimmy Brown's bread truck was an Island institution. Many business transactions were carried out from that vehicle. Ticket sales, mail delivery up the hill to the post office on the corner right next to Abe's Market, freight hauling, paper deliveries and often a free ride up the cobble laden Welch Street to an ailing friend returning from a doctor's visit uptown. Of course there always were more than a few sporting event pick-em cards sold during the football season as well. I always felt Jimmy Brown's main purpose in meeting every boat occurred during foggy times. He'd park the truck as close to the end of the pier as possible facing Portland, check his watch and when he could hear the incoming Bay Line boat approaching would begin flashing his lights and honking the horn. Radar, we don't need no stinkin' radar, we had Jimmy Brown's truck to guide us in to Peaks! Those were the days of dead reckoning by the compass. Amazingly, I only remember one time when we popped out of the fog at the Island down near Centennial Beach and had to make a hard right to get to the dock.

The taxi stories I'll save for another day. The drivers I knew from back then deserve tales of their own. Needless to say, Jimmy Brown was just one of many quiet, smiling Islanders that didn't take up a lot of space but just kept the Island functioning. Thanks Jimmy for all you did.


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